Friday 13 July 2018

Saturday 14th July: Eqtidaar To Be Crowned July Cup King

A very busy day of pattern action around the country with Newmarket taking centre stage for the conclusion of the July Festival, the Group 1 six furlong July Cup being the highlight.

We have a value bet in that one as long as bets from Ascot and York on what is a high class day with plenty of Royal Ascot runners now making their return to the track.  Here are six good bets for Saturday’s action:

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1.05 Newmarket (Superlative Stakes – Group 2) – QUORTO

As usual in these races it’s all about untapped potential and there is more of that in the once-raced Quorto than in anything else in the field.

Extremely well backed on debut here to put in a taking performance, he beat Handmaiden that day who in turn was runner-up to another well-liked Charlie Appleby newcomer on Thursday with the form looking very strong.

He beat that decent field easily first time out and is bred to want further so this step up to seven furlongs is another positive meaning he should have too much for the likes of Cape Of Good Hope and the improver Daafr whose Newcastle run is likely to have been underestimated by most.

1.20 Ascot (Summer Mile – Group 2) – BEAT THE BANK

Andrew Balding’s miler was behind a couple of these rivals when sixth in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot (Group 1), but that was very much an improved run from his seasonal opener and he gets better as the season goes on so it seems.

He was thought of as a Group 1 horse last year and while it hasn’t happened for him just yet, it surely still could and so running in a Group 2 without penalties for what he achieved last season could see him scoot a couple of lengths clear in this given that the rest do look like Group2/3 performers.

Lord Glitters and Century Dream are feared most, but watch out for a potential upturn in Derby fourth Eminent’s fortunes now he is trying a new trip so long as his brain is working ok.

1.40 Newmarket (Bunbury Cup Handicap) – MUBTASIM

Last season’s Jersey Stakes third has spent the last year in racing purgatory; considered too high in the weights for handicaps and just not quite good enough to win Group races.  He very belatedly makes a handicap debut here off a mark of 105 though and frankly I don’t think that alone is enough to stop him.

A quick ground, fast-run seven furlongs is utterly perfect for him and the booking of Donnacha O’Brien is a strange but good choice.  He may well go on to land this at the expense of Gilgamesh who has been well touted in the run-up to the festival.

1.55 York (City Walls Stakes – Listed) – MUTHMIR

Only the bad draw got Muthmir beaten last week and he is just the kind of sprinter you need to catch in hot form, which the 8yo is right now.

Even his 3lb penalty shouldn’t be enough to stop him with seasoned performers Take Cover and Mr Lupton perhaps not at their best while young pretender Stone Of Destiny was dragged along by a top class field last time and may not get the same sort of feel in this race.

2.15 Newmarket (July Cup – Group 1) – EQTIDAAR

This is a fascinating renewal even without Merchant Navy and Harry Angel, but it could be time for a new kid on the block to grab the baton anyway in the shape of Commonwealth Cup winner Eqtidaar.

Even at 12/1 his win at Ascot wasn’t a surprise to anyone in Sir Michael Stoute’s yard as this horse put in arguably one of the top two or three debut performances last season as a juvenile and then just took a little bit of time to reach his early potential.

He has not reached his peak just yet, despite now being a Group 1 winner, and will have conditions perfectly to his liking.  That can’t necessarily be said for favourite Blue Point who perhaps had his five furlong King’s Stand win set up for him by Battaash while US Navy Flag isn’t guaranteed to take to sprint distances.

Aussie raider Redkirk Warrior may well not be as good as his reputation while Dreamfield is not a no-hoper here, but still looks a little way off Group 1 level just at the moment.

2.35 York (John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes – Group 3) – DAL HARRAILD

Despite having to come back from a 105-day break and a flop in Dubai, William Haggas’ five-year-old is now the best horse in this race and is one who arguably but in his best career performance over this course and distance last year, despite the fact that he has an improving overall profile.

Andrea Atzeni’s mount should have too much for this field with Scotland and Dylan Mouth perhaps the ones to give him most to do just as long as he’s ready to go now after his rest.

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